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Death Toll Rises In Texas Disaster; Houston Police Chief Tells Evacuees Not To Go Home; Many Houston Residents Trapped In Flooded Areas; Thirty Two Thousand Flood Victims In Shelters Across Texas; Five People Killed In Mumbai Wednesday; North Korea Launch A Prelude To Action Aimed At Guam; May Seeks Post-Brexit Trade Deal With Japan. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired August 30, 2017 - 15:00   ET




HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And continue our breaking news coverage, tonight, we begin in Texas where the disaster unleashed by

Hurricane Harvey is far from over.

Hello, everyone watching around the world. I'm Hala Gorani.

The Red Cross housed more than 13,000 people in emergency shelters Tuesday night. It gives you an idea of the scale of the devastation and how much

impact Harvey has had and those people and this is a bigger long-term issue may not have homes to return to once the waters in the Houston area have


Here's an example, Port Arthur is the latest hit-hard area. These are new pictures from that city. Some houses near reservoirs could be swapped for

weeks and the rising waters, even deluge some shelters forcing people to find another place to stay.

So, they thought they were safe, and here you have it, their shelter was once again overrun by water. The police chief of Houston is now telling

residents who evacuated not to return home yet because police do not want any more tragedies.

We've been watching dramatic helicopter rescues like this one all day. That's a very young child and he's one of thousands of people rescued by

helicopter and by boat in the Houston area.

As the disaster in Texas unfolded, U.S. President Donald Trump gave a speech about tax reform in Missouri. He did briefly mention the situation

in Texas and praised the work of first responders.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Torrential rains and terrible flooding continue to pose a grave danger to life and to

property. Our first responders have been doing absolutely heroic work to shepherd people out of harm's way and their courage and devotion has saved

countless lives. They represent truly the very best of America. We must be vigilant. We must protect the lives of our people.


GORANI: Donald Trump there mentioning the tragedy in Texas. Our teams are tracking the rescue and recovery effort. Miguel Marquez joins me from

Houston and we'll get a little bit later to Stephen Collinson in Washington, D.C. for more on the Trump administration's response.

Miguel, first of all, what's the situation now? Do you see any improvement where you are?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the sun is shining that is a huge banner headline that somebody haven't seen in Houston for much of

the day today for quite some time.

But we are at Addicks Reservoir. This place has remained remarkably high and stubbornly high. You can see that larger vehicles are able to get in

and out. This guy amazingly enough has been driving in and pulling cars out of there for much of the day.

If you look way far down, you can see a boat as well. This is State Highway Six, about a mile from here is where the reservoir normally is. It

has now crept up all the way to where we are right now and will probably be this high for quite some time.

Mainly because there is so much run off in water in other reservoirs, they are letting it runoff into this area. These high-profile trucks, these

very high -- sort of military like vehicles that can actually get in there as well.

There are many people who have remained in this area refusing to leave their homes or apartments and so they are able to drive in. It is so

shallow in this area that they can actually drive into this area and fixing them up.

They are relenting now because it is very clear. It is going to be weeks before this place is habitable again. Probably months or years before it's

habitable again, but it's going to sometime before people can get into their apartments, get into their homes and figure out what could be

salvaged and where they go from here.

That is sort of the story here today, the lights at the end of the tunnel, but boy is it going to be a long hard slog and struggle to get back to any

sort of a normal life here in Houston -- Hala.

Well, I can imagine and people have kids and are they going to school and the elderly who have mobility issues, what happens to them? And then

you're in Houston, but east of Houston, I mean, there are other areas that are still underwater literally.

MARQUEZ: And still raining there. Harvey came back on shore east of Houston in the Beaumont area and just slammed that area again very hard.

There are concerns about more rain or storms in the future here.

[15:05:08] Any more water in the system would just, you know, devastate the area even more. It is a very tough time here. It's going to take a long

time for people to recover.

GORANI: All right. Thanks very much, Miguel Marquez in Houston. A light at the end of the tunnel, but it will be a long road. Thanks very much,


Let's get more on President Trump's reaction to this disaster. We saw him in Corpus Christi and Austin yesterday, but he's already moved on. He's

moved on to Missouri. He made a quick reference to the hurricane, but he's moved on to something completely different and that is tax reform already.

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS SENIOR REPORTER: That's right, Hala. I think it is somewhat surprising actually, that the White House went ahead

and did this event today. The first event in the president's pushed to enact tax reform later this year.

It just seems like it is somewhat of a sort of segue way away from whatever everybody's talking about. CNN like other news organizations broadcast the

president's remarks on a split screen with pictures of people being pulled out of the floods.

And you can see how that might be a politically sort of dicey picture for the White House. The president, though, was more effusive and more

compassionate than he was during his visit to Texas.

Yesterday, he talked about the spirit of the American people. He said we will overcome. We will endure. We will be with you talking to the people

of Texas, but I think in some ways the White House, although, it has gone out of his way to show that it's on top of this disaster is still sort of

trying to catch up with the optics and the sort of emotive aspects of this tragedy.

GORANI: All right. And by the way, I just want to tell our viewers what they are seeing on their screen right now as we are discussing the Trump

administration's reaction to Harvey are live images coming to us from Port Arthur.

This is east of Houston and this is the area we were discussing with Miguel Marquez where there is still rain and as you can see the floodwaters are

still extremely high. There is an elderly gentleman there who is being rescued on a boat to be a private boat.

So many private individuals have stepped in and helped, and the president, Donald Trump has tweeted about his empathy for ordinary people affected by

Hurricane Harvey saying that he witnessed firsthand the horror and devastation that his heart goes out even more to the great people of Texas.

And immediately after that took another pot shot at the press saying this is after the false reporting from some dying magazines. So, one went with

the other there from the president of the United States with empathy with the victims and another attack on the free press.

Well, imagine being inside your apartment one or two stories off the ground, but unable to live honestly because of flooding. That's the case

for thousands of people in Houston.

CNN's Brian Todd has visited one such neighborhood in a boat.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (Inaudible) of apartment building (inaudible) place, just check out these cars here. This is the result of

the patrol police from the Addicks reservoir, flooding the Buffalo bayou, which is nearby.

But look at this, and all of this according to residents was just a day (inaudible) 1:00 this morning since this came up. It wasn't even happening

during the brunt of the storm.

Look at this, water up to the tops of cars, up to, you know, the door knobs and locks of these apartment buildings here, the first-floor windows. Look

at this, this incredible flooding well after the brunt of the storm has passed and residents (inaudible).

We are just cruising around this neighborhood to see what residents are going to flag us and want to get out. Here's one of the (inaudible). Don,

tell me what happened? You tried to save a man who was trying to make his way across these floodwaters from his flooded car to his apartment. What

happened with him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the neighbors saw him go down, collapsed, we don't know why. He went over and flipped him over so (inaudible) and

yelled for help and the three of us went over to help him.

We pulled him into the laundry mat and (inaudible) water on the floor. (Inaudible) contrast impressions and mouth to mouth on him. We had 911 on

the phone that were walking us through that and (inaudible).

But really with the other three people who are the main people are doing a lot of work (inaudible) the canoe down, loaded him up in the canoe. They

brought him up to the front air and loaded him in a fast boat and they brought him in the truck out there. The entire time we were with him and

we never (inaudible).

TODD: Couldn't save him, but you guys really did your best.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did everything we could, but I guess, hate to say it, (inaudible), but we tried.

TODD: Thanks for trying. You did a great job trying to help him.

[15:10:03] One of many stories around here this apartment complex. Here's the problem. It's labyrinth of buildings and walkways and driveways. But

if you try to get out of get out of your apartment, you got nowhere to go unless an air boat or some other boat comes and gets you.

You can't walk. The water here is at least chest deep and there really is just no other way to get out of here to a road that's not flooded and those

roads are a long way from here.

So, these people that are in here now are going to be trapped unless they get one of these boats. They're going to be trapped. They're going to

have to ride it out here.


GORANI: Brian Todd speaking a bit earlier on CNN. As you can see a boat on water there, obviously, functions well. That's what it's designed for,

but then you have cars parked and you have the roofs of cars sometimes.

You have to make sure you (inaudible) between all of those obstacles. Now the Red Cross is one of the major organizations helping with Harvey relief

efforts. Jonathan McNamara is the communications director at the Red Cross Virginia. He joins me now live from Houston. Thanks, sir, for being with


First of all, what's the situation now at the convention center in Houston?

JONATHAN MCNAMARA, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, RED CROSS: Yes. Thanks for having me. Last time, we had 10,000 residents that sought shelter here at

the convention center and right now we are in the process of moving some residents to other facilities here in Houston.

In addition to that some residents will be heading to shelters in Austin, San Antonio and Dallas. So, we have 32,000 people seek shelter last night

in 230 Red Cross shelters.

We are bringing in mobile kitchens into the area that could serve 10,000 meals each. We have six of them. So, this is a massive effort, 1,500

volunteers on the ground with more on the way.

GORANI: All right. Unbelievable effort there obviously, 32,000 people. I guess, the question is there -- do you have any needs? Is there anything

missing? Is there anything specifically that the Red Cross needs right now to respond to this disaster and to help all the people, who have been --

all the survivors in need?

MCNAMARA: Well, right now, our focus is on getting as many supplies in in this area as possible. Again, over 80 tractor trailers worth of supplies,

that's enough to provide shelter to 50,000 people with enough supplies on the way to another additional 16,000.

So, more volunteers from across the country. I think the important point to know is these are people who drive across the country. They leave their

families for potentially up to three weeks.

So special people that see this work who are invested in getting this right and who are committed to the long term, it could be months if not years, as

a part of this response.

GORANI: And that was going to be my next question because it's not just, you know, wrap it up at the end of the week and everyone goes home. Some

of these people unfortunately won't be able to go back to their homes for many weeks possibly months. What is the long-term picture here?

MCNAMARA: Yes. So, we are actively working not only with the volunteers on the ground, but additional Red Cross volunteers who are in the country

we haven't deployed yet. We are working on those plans.

But one thing that's been overwhelming is the amount of people who have been visiting, who are commenting on our Facebook page,

commenting on Twitter, saying, we want to join your team.

So, we are actively working to get those volunteers signed-up. We are training them and will be training them because we are not going to leave

Houston. We were here before the storm hit and we are going to be here for the months and years to come.

We are going to need manpower to do that and that's going to be because of those volunteers who were signing up. So, we'd make them and we encourage

anyone who does want to join our team to visit

GORANI: and the Red Cross, of course, does magnificent work all over the world and many of the stories we've covered, we've seen the

organization step in. But I want to ask you, though, about some of the other things beyond, you know, Baby Wipes and Mobile Kitchens.

I mean, these are people with kids, with elderly relatives, with medical needs, or whatever it might be. How do you meet challenges like this? I

mean, you know, the kids are out of school. They need to be entertained.

They need to be feel like this is, you know, not affecting them emotionally. How do you manage that human side of the equation?

MCNAMARA: It's a great question because the emotional and psychological aspects of what we do is probably one of the more important things other

than just providing safe shelter and a hot meal to eat.

So, we have emotional case workers who are here, who will do anything from actual counseling or just being a shoulder to cry on. I was actually

inside the shelter a little while ago throwing the football with some kids.

We have some who are running around with Nerf guns, and that's what Red Cross volunteers are trained for. We do this not only for large disasters,

but we have tremendous experience responding for things like single family house fires where emotional aspects are really a critical part of that


So that's what we are doing and we are going to be doing that for the foreseeable future.

GORANI: And what has surprised you most in this disaster? Because you're been around. You've seen others. What has surprised you most with Harvey

and its aftermath?

MCNAMARA: The sheer scope of it. The pictures don't do a justice. When you walk into this facility, you're just only seeing 10,000 people like

maybe a football game or a concert.

[15:15:04] So, when you see them in a facility like that, who are seeking shelters, but also the thousands of volunteers some spontaneous (inaudible)

to this facility.

Many who were -- a 17-year-old kid who would drive in across the country to volunteer with his parents. It's an emotional thing to see and take in and

many of them were working 18, 19 hour-shifts because failure is not an option and they just want to help people.

And some of those volunteers have lost their own homes, but they are not letting that stop them from helping their neighbors during their time of

need. So, it's overwhelming to see, but it inspires you keep the doing the work that's necessary to keep these people towards the process of


GORANI: You've seen so many examples of that. Jonathan McNamara, thanks very much of the Red Cross for joining us from the Houston Convention


We are going to have a lot more ahead including the latest on the other major challenge facing the United States, North Korea.

Also, ahead, India has been fighting its own devastating downpour and it has been doing so for months now. They are getting worse and the death

toll is rising. We will live in Mumbai.


GORANI: Well, as we cover the catastrophic flooding in Texas, we want to take you halfway across the world to a city that has been struggling with a

similar problem. Just today, at least five people were killed in the Indian financial capital of Mumbai.

Take a look at these images. About 30 centimeters of rain have fallen in some areas since Tuesday alone and more is forecast over the next two days.

Journalist Liz Neisloss is in Mumbai with more. So, we can see from the pictures there that it looks pretty catastrophic. What's the situation in

Mumbai now?

LIZ NEISLOSS, JOURNALIST: Right now, Hala, this is really the dry and recover period of commuters, all kinds of worker, thousands of people who

were stranded during the floods used today to get back home. Businesses and schools were closed.

But the floodwaters are generally receding. This was a massive amount of rain that was dumped on the city and it essentially brought India's

financial capital to a standstill.

The commuter railway, which is considered the lifeline of the city (inaudible) about 8 million people a day, it was completely submerged.

There were scenes of people climbing out of train windows and walking along flooded tracks.

Cars were abandoned on roads. There were reports of cars floating down the road. It was a very significant incident and it's paralyzed the city --


GORANI: And this is monsoon season, but is it worst than usual this year?

NEISLOSS: This particular incident has brought this year's season to a significant level. This monsoon rains that paralyzed the city, they were

not as bad as the record breaking, which was in 2005.

[15:20:90] About three times as much rain fell at that time, but it's significant, Hala, because not just Mumbai, but all over India over the

past three months there have been devastating floods.

So, this really is a very major monsoon year and the monsoon continue until September so there are certainly more rains to come.

GORANI: All right. Liz Neisloss, thanks very much reporting live from Mumbai.

And continuing a look at extreme weather around the world. It sure seems like we are getting a lot more of it these last two years. This is usually

one of the driest places on the planet. Heavy rains have actually turned parts of the Atakama (ph) desert into a sea of flowers.

Valleys in northern Chile, which normally looked like the surface of Mars are now purple, yellow, and white. The phenomenon usually occurs every

five to seven years. However, this comes after another bloom just two years ago. So, it does seem like, you know, the phenomena have increase

these extreme weather scenarios.

Now let us turn our attention to the display of military prowess by the U.S. that no doubt sends a message to North Korea. It was a missile-

defense test off the coast of Hawaii early today.

The military says sailors successfully detected, tracked, and intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile. The American president, Donald Trump, had

his own message for Pyongyang.

He tweeted, "The U.S. has been talking to North Korea and paying them extortion money for 25 years now. Talking is not the answer." For its

part, North Korea says Tuesday's missile launch over Japan was just a preview of operations directed at the U.S. territory of Guam.

Will Ripley is inside Pyongyang.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We are approaching the top of the hour here in Pyongyang and right now crowds are gathering outside

the central train station. All eyes are on this big screen for what we are told will be a major announcement about the missile launch.

(voice-over): You may recognize the news reader making the announcement. Her name is (inaudible) and she is essentially the face of North Korean

state TV. Every major event in this country, she's the one on television. She reads the official government announcement, North Korea launched an

intermedium-range ballistic missile, the (inaudible) 12.

(on camera): This is the first time that many of these people are hearing about this because the government waited more than 24 hours after the

missile launch to make their official announcement.

(voice-over): Their supreme leader, Kim Jong-on says more missile launches toward the Pacific will happen. This he says is just a prelude to future

military options aimed at Guam.

(on camera): Many people around the world are frightened when they see things like this. How does it make you feel?

I feel very proud of this brilliant achievement, he says, and seeing the launch and feel that our military is improving. I feel very proud to be


President Trump says that launch is like this show that North Korea has contempt for its neighbors. What's your response?

We are simply acting in self-defense, he says, we shot one yesterday. We could shoot one today. Maybe tomorrow will shoot 10 more missiles. We

have to do it to defend our country.

A lot of people on the outside world worry that your future will be much harder because your country does things like this. What would you like to

tell them?

She pauses as if she is searching for the right answer. With our army and the leadership of Marshal Kim Jong-un, she says, he can conquer any enemy.

Unsurprisingly, everyone we spoke here said they are 100 percent behind their supreme leader, Kim Jong-un.

They say launches like this won't make their country isolated or impoverished, but in fact will make their country stronger. What else

would they say? Will Ripley, CNN, Pyongyang, North Korea.


GORANI: Will Ripley, by the way, is the only western journalist inside of North Korea right now.

While the global community swiftly condemned this missile launch, they called it a violation of international law, among them the British Minister

Theresa May, she said China is key to defusing tensions as she arrived in Kyoto, Japan.

May says Beijing needs to do more to help curb the Pyongyang regime's illegal and provocative weapons testing.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: What we are doing is looking at how we can work with our international partners to ensure the pressures is

brought on North Korea to stop what are illegal acts.

I think China does have a significant role to play in this because of the leverage that China has with North Korea and we will be continuing to

encourage them as I have done in the past to use that leverage.


[15:25:08] GORANI: Now Prime Minister May is on a three-day visit to Japan. It's all about laying the groundwork for trade deals post-Brexit

with Tokyo, though, Tokyo is certainly entering into trade agreements with Europe unclear whether or not it will extend those types of agreements to

the U.K. after Brexit. It's the hope of the U.K., but certainly not a done deal.

The political crisis in Venezuela has just taken another chilling turn. A new constituent assembly has approved trying opposition leaders for treason

if they support sanctions that the U.S. recently imposed on Venezuela. Lawmakers loyal to the president, Nicholas Maduro, have rejected the

sanctions and called opposition parties, MT Venezuela.

Still to come, the situation in Texas is so dire that even one shelter is now flooded. We'll look at how victims are coping. A lot more coverage

after this.


GORANI: Let return now to our top story. Ongoing rescue efforts across Southeast Texas and Louisiana. We are starting to see a lot more images of

the devastation several days after the hurricane made landfall.

These striking photos show a before and after of a freeway in Winnie, Texas, more than 30 kilometers inland. In the after shot taken Tuesday on

a boat, you could see a sea of white caps and waves in interstate lanes should be.

The rainfall was so bad that even some places where people have found refuge are now flooding. That includes this shelter in Port Arthur, Texas.

The city's mayor says the entire town is underwater. And that if you are still there, get to higher ground if you can until you can be rescued.

Now CNN's Rosa Flores joins us from a shelter in Houston, the convention center there, with the latest and we've seen you speak to survivors and

people who fled the floods and their homes for days now.

What is the situation today? Are people starting to feel a little more hopefully I can get back home? What's the mood at the convention center?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, thousands of people are still here at this shelter and two other shelters have opened up. They called

them mega shelters because they can house thousands of people.

Now the headline today is that a lot of these people are also leaving and going with family because there is still a lot of flooding in Houston, but

there was some sunshine today.

We did the blue skies which made a lot of people here smile because it had been raining for days and so some of the highways are open not only are

people able to head to homes with family, but also supplies can come into Houston, which was so important because, as you know, there was so much


They needed cots, pillows, wheelchair, socks for people because they were drenched when they're coming into this convention center and then they were

freezing here because of the air conditioning.

And so, that's another little glimmer of hope, the fact that because these major interstates are no longer underwater, then 18-wheelers with supplies

can arrive.

As a matter-of-fact, some of them are being unloaded in the back of this building. So, that's making a lot of people feel me at least a little more

comfortable as they start to rebuild their lives.

HALA GORANI, CNN HOST, WORLD RIGHT NOW: Well, that's at least one glimmer there of positive news. But what's the long-term picture like because some

people don't have family to go to, their homes are going to be affected for a very long time? This convention center, what are they saying about the

next few weeks, possibly even months?

FLORES: Here at the convention center, organizers say that they're taking it on a 24 hour by 24-hour basis just because people are still getting

rescued, people are still being brought in after being plucked from their homes or being saved by boats.

And so, for organizers, they're just making sure that they have cots, that they have warm food, that they have toiletries and supplies for these


Now, I talked to some of the families about what they're thinking, they are still trying to process the fact that they have lost everything, they're

still trying to fathom the near-death experiences that they lived, but a lot of them are in line for FEMA assistance because that's one of the very

first steps in this recovery, is filling out applications, filling out paperwork, filling out insurance forms.

And even though that's mind-boggling, they don't want to be doing this right now. They'd rather be hugging their loved ones. They know it's an

important and necessary step, so that they can move past this convention center and, hopefully, in the coming months move in back into their homes.

GORANI: And you don't know want to do it, the quicker you do it, though, hopefully, the quicker your claim is processed, so there is that as well.

Rosa Flores, thanks so much. It's been great having you there speaking to survivors and people directly affected by all of this.

We've seen incredible stories of courage and compassion. The storm really seems to be bringing out the very best in people.

On Sunday, neighbors at a Houston apartment complex formed a human chain to help a pregnant woman, who went into labor. She and her husband became

trapped by rising water and couldn't get emergency services on the phone.

So, all the nurses and doctors in the complex arrived to help. In the end, the fire department showed up as neighbors helped the woman and her husband

on to a dump truck to get to the hospital. Get there any way you can if you have to.

There is a very happy ending, you'll be happy to know. Greg and Andrea Smith gave birth to a healthy baby girl.

Now, let's turn our attention back to our other top story today, and it is the rising tensions between the US and North Korea. The American President

Donald Trump now says talking is not the answer, but how will that message be received in Pyongyang?

Ambassador Nicholas Burns joins us via Skype from Westport, Massachusetts. He is a former US undersecretary for political affairs and a former US

ambassador to NATO and Greece. Thanks, ambassador, for joining us.

So, first of all, we heard two - there are mixed messages, right, from the Trump administration. From the president himself, talking is not the

answer. We've paid extortion money to North Korea for 25 years, not sure exactly what money he is talking about.

Then from James Mattis, the defense secretary, we're never out of diplomatic solutions. Is this confusion or is this good cop/bad cop?


What the North Koreans did in firing intermediate range missile across northern Japan, across Hokkaido is nearly unprecedented in recent decades.

They have not done this before.

And they're trying to demonstrate to the United States and South Korea and Japan that they have a capacity to hit US forces and Japan, the Japanese

government, but also the capacity to hit Guam.

They didn't fire it towards Guam, but you remember the threats from Kim Jong-un that he would do so. Well, they fired a missile about as long as

it takes - about the same distance it takes to get to Guam, but just to the north.

So, this is brinkmanship. I think the President Trump frankly is right to say that this is unacceptable, but I do believe there are diplomatic step

ahead and we should be on diplomatic path.

GORANI: But he is going further than that. He's saying the time for talking is over. You could interpret that as that the time is now for

military confrontation. They could interpret it that way.

[15:35:12] BURNS: I don't think the United States would engage in any kind of preemptive attack on North Korea. The US has made it very clear over

the last several weeks, when the North Koreans have provoked other countries of the region, that we'll defend the United States, our forces

and our allies, South Korea and Japan if we are attacked or our allies are attacked.

And I do think that there is further room for diplomatic talks. It's going to depend on China. The Chinese, of course, have some leverage. They're

looking at these events. They cannot possibly want it to lead to a conflict and I would hope the Chinese would use that leverage.

GORANI: But you see they haven't. And they haven't really even allowed any of the sanctions to hurt North Korea. They still have the money to

develop these weapons.

North Korea seems to be in a situation where they're not really wanting to put a squeeze economically speaking - I should say China on North Korea.

That's not happening the way the US wants it to.

BURNS: Well, the Chinese did vote for the Security Council resolution a couple of weeks back. The Russians did as well.

The Chinese are beginning to limit some of their exports in coal to the North Koreans. So, we haven't seen the type of Chinese response that all

of us would want, but we've seen some movement.

And I think that the president's statements here are meant really to get the attention of the Chinese, more so than the North Koreans.

GORANI: Because fundamentally, Ambassador Burns, the US doesn't really have a plan B, right? It's sanctions and diplomacy or what? There's no

military solution here, is there?

BURNS: Well, there would be no, I think, reason for the United States to initiate military action because then you are putting millions of civilians

in South Korea especially as well as North Korea at risk. And civilized nations cannot do that.

GORANI: Sorry to jump in, that leaves with the strategy that has failed so far.

BURNS: Well, you're right. The United States strategy, Japanese, South Korean strategy, Chinese strategy has all failed.

And so, what has to happen after this latest provocative missile test, there has to be international condemnation. There has to be a further

tightening of sanctions.

But let's face it, the Chinese are the ones who have to react. And this is a test of China's ability as a great power, and they're a great power in

Asia, to be responsible, to help negate this threat and to take the kind of actions that would stop the North Korean missile test and get the North

Koreans back to the negotiating table. That's the responsibility of Beijing now.

GORANI: But North Korea is - and, obviously, this strategy was initiated many years ago, but now this is a different situation where North Korea is

flying missiles right over Japan. We believe it's possible they can miniaturize a nuclear warhead capable of reaching potentially even parts of

the United States. So, this is a - time is of the essence here. But this strategy is a long-term one. So, you're kind of in a situation where

everyone is a bit stuck here.

BURNS: Well, there is an immediate threat. If North Korea is firing intermediate range missiles over Hokkaido, that's a treat. It was a threat

to the Japanese civilians who woke up to cell phone warnings the other morning.

And so, there has to be a greater sense of urgency. I don't think that the US and other countries could just kick the can down the road forever as

administrations did (INAUDIBLE) some of those administrations did in the past.

But, again, Hala, I say this. I think President Trump and the US have done what they should do here, that President Trump and Secretary Tillerson just

last week praised the North Koreans for not initiating missile tests.

Now, of course, they've broken that commitment. I think the blame here has to be put on Pyongyang and the responsibility on Beijing because those are

the two countries that could really initiate negotiations.

GORANI: Nicholas Burns, thanks very much. As always, pleasure having you on. Appreciate it.

BURNS: Thanks, Hala.

GORANI: Still ahead, we look at the many challenges facing the United States. There is Harvey. There is obviously North Korea and other big


I ask CNN's presidential historian Douglas Brinkley how Donald Trump is handling it all and, of course, much more on Harvey. We'll be right back.


[15:41:41] GORANI: Donald Trump is having a busy week. The American president has been in Texas. He went there to survey the damage from

Hurricane Harvey. He mainly visited command centers and spoke to first responders and FEMA officials.

He's also been reacting to North Korea's provocative missile launch over the top of Japan. And in the last hour, he's been pushing his tax reform



DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The foundation of our job creation agenda is to fundamentally reform our tax code for the first

time in more than 30 years.

I want to work with Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, on a plan that is pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-worker and pro-American.


GORANI: All right. Well, let's go live to Austin in Texas. CNN Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley joins me.

Douglas Brinkley, you've written a book about Katrina. This was in 2005. You've been able to survey the management, the reaction of the Trump

administration to Harvey. What do you make of it?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, I think President Trump got off to a bad start when the storm was brewing, Category 4

hurricane that was hitting Texas shores. He was using Twitter to talk about a pardoning of Joe Arpaio. He was talking about selling the book of

a Milwaukee sheriff.

He seemed disconnected. He then got his act together on Sunday. And I think rightfully came to Texas yesterday, was here in Austin and then went

to Corpus Christi. He's catching some criticism for not showing enough empathy and heart.

However, he conversely has said that the US government and the Trump administration is going to make sure Texas is taken care of. The question

is to what tune, what amount of money. The tropical storm Sandy cost $50 billion. This might be as much as $80 billion.

GORANI: And he's avoided some of the mistakes that George W. Bush made after Katrina with the flyover where he looked outside of an airplane at

the affected areas. Obviously, they didn't do that.

They came. He was wearing a baseball cap. He went to two cities, Corpus Christi, as you said, and Austin. There, we're seeing a picture of George

W. Bush in 2005.

So, this administration did learn from the mistakes of the previous ones it appears.

BRINKLEY: I think so, which is get to the spot quickly. People want to know you care. They want to feel at least you're close to where the

activity is going on. He did not go to a convention center or meet people that were actually victims of the storm.

He did give a speech in Corpus Christi in front of some people, but he did it at quite a distance. But, nevertheless, he did well by coming here.

GORANI: Yes. I found it interesting that the First Lady Melania Trump - I'm not going to talk about her shoe wear because I know that we went

really viral online. And it was, by the way, the front page of every UK newspaper today, Douglas, if you can believe it.

But, anyway, she accompanied Donald Trump. Is that common because I don't remember Mrs. Bush or Michelle Obama accompanying Barack Obama and George

W. Bush to some of these areas?

BRINKLEY: It's a little unusual. It was probably the right thing. Donald Trump has his fans. Thirty-five percent of the American public loves him.

But that's - 60 percent don't.

[15:45:06] What they don't like about him sometimes is he seems coldhearted and callous. So, the thought of having the first lady with him was very

appealing to a lot of people.

Now, unfortunately, her wardrobe is what's getting discussed, but nevertheless it, I think, helped him on his journey here. And she really

didn't say anything or do much, but there she was.

GORANI: There she was, yes. And as you said, it's all that's being talked about. I was very surprised with the UK coverage of it.

I want to talk about certain thing that didn't make headlines because in the midst of Harvey, and rightfully so, journalists focused a lot on the

aftermath and - on the disaster and its aftermath.

But, of course, Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, said on television that the president speaks only for himself when it comes to, for instance,

comments in the aftermath of Charlottesville.

But one thing that didn't get a lot of play is Jim Mattis, the defense secretary, last week was in Jordan. He was speaking to troops, motivating

troops fighting in the Middle East. And I just want to remind our viewers what he told them about the state of America today. Listen.


JAMES MATTIS, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Great example for our country right now. It's got some problems. You know it and I know it. It's got

problems that we don't have in the military.

And you just hold the line, my fine young soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines. You just hold the line until our country gets back to

understanding and respecting each other and showing it, being friendly to one another.

We've got two powers. The power of inspiration. We'll get the power of inspiration back. We've got the power of intimidation, and that's you, if

someone wants to screw with our families and our country, our allies, OK?


GORANI: Now, Douglas Brinkley, I find that remarkable. Hold the line until our country gets back to respecting each other.

So, on the one hand, the president's secretary of state is saying the president doesn't speak for me, he speaks only for himself; on the other

hand, the secretary of defense is questioning if Donald Trump can unify the country, saying hold the line until our country gets back to respecting

each other.

Historically speaking, how unusual is this?

BRINKLEY: Well, it's very unusual. But Secretary of Defense Mattis is extremely popular. Democrats like him, Republicans like him, everybody

trusts him. He's a beloved figure in the military.

And the problem we're having in this country is a lot of people, even within the administration, are worried about being damaged by being seen as

an acolyte of Donald Trump.

Part of it is the ongoing Russia investigation on Trump. Part of it is this reaction to Charlottesville where he was equating neo-Nazis with other

protesters. Part of it is his miscue about pardoning of Sherriff Arpaio right when hurricane was hitting Texas. So, a lot of people are kind of

backing off.

And, unfortunately, right now, there is a big divide in America. It's a kind of civil war going on between people that like Donald Trump and people

that despise him. But the fact that his own administration seems to be backing off a little from their boss is unique in American history.

GORANI: So, there is no other instance in American history where cabinet secretaries publicly say - and I know this wasn't an official interview for

Mattis, but he must've known it would come out one way or another - publicly disagree, publicly say the president is not speaking for me or for

all American people, publicly say our country is not unified when the president is in the White House.

BRINKLEY: No. The few times they did do something like that, they do it with the resignation note. Cyrus Vance, for example, after we had the

Iranian hostage crisis, tried to - it was a failed Jimmy Carter rescue mission in Iran and Secretary Vance just quit because he had total and

utter disagreement with the president. That happens.

Cabinet officers quit, but to, basically, try to do the kind of tight- walking that people like Tillerson and Mattis are doing, one of the reasons is that a lot of people don't want them to quit because they're worried

about the White House with Donald Trump operating in a willy-nilly fashion without those kind of, what some people call, adult supervision around him.

GORANI: OK. If you expand just on that last point, you say some people wouldn't want them to quit, the Mattises, the Tillersons, even the Kellys,

for instance, the new chief of staff because why? There's concern about the president for what reason?

BRINKLEY: Because there is a question of his narcissism being a sickness, that he operates irrationally, his crazy use of Twitter, his overly

provocative statements.

And we need to run the federal government and we have to have mature and able people doing that. And Secretary Mattis is one of them, Secretary

Tillerson is, General Kelly is. So, there's a feeling, let them stay.

[15:50:10] Look, we've had Richard Nixon go awry in America, but our government continued and there became a move for impeachment.

There are murmurs about impeachment move, 25th Amendment is being discussed in the United States right now, but it doesn't mean you want everybody to


There's a lot of attention on Vice President Pence now. We get a lot of great radio broadcast here in Texas while the storm was going on. There's

a feeling if Trump goes, there's still a good cabinet and government in place.

GORANI: Douglas Brinkley, presidential historian. Thanks so much. Really appreciate your time on CNN, as always.

Here is something that doesn't happen often. The Kremlin has actually confirmed it received an email from Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen.

On Monday, Cohen said he had contacted the Kremlin during the presidential campaign, asking for assistance with a Trump Tower project in Moscow.

Here's what the Kremlin's spokesperson said about it today. "It really happened. This email said that a certain Russian company, together with

certain individuals, is pursuing the goal of building a skyscraper in the Moscow City District, but things aren't going well and they asked for help

with some advice on moving this project forward, but we left it unanswered.

Fred Pleitgen is in Moscow. So, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin's spokesperson, is confirming that the Trump lawyer emailed him or the Kremlin.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. You're absolutely right, Hala, but there are some things that certainly are

- I wouldn't say bizarre, but a little strange about this whole case.

First of all, the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also said that this email was not sent directly to his personal email address, but to a public

Kremlin email address that he says gets thousands of emails every day.

So, certainly, if there was some sort of personal relationship between Michael Cohen, who sent that email, and Dmitry Peskov, that certainly

wasn't reflected in the addressee or the email that he sent that to.

He also said that the email was not answered because it's not the Kremlin's responsibility and that the email itself was never talked about with

Vladimir Putin. They said this is not our responsibility. That's why this is not being flagged up to the president.

They also said, on this email address, as I said, they get thousands of emails every day and they don't discuss every single one with Vladimir


He did confirm that the email was addressed specifically him, to him, to Dmitry Peskov, but again said it simply wasn't answered because it's not

their responsibility.

Now, we have to keep in mind, Hala. This was about a multimillion dollar real estate project that they wanted to apparently realize here in Moscow

and certainly does seem a little bit out of the ordinary to write an email that did seem to have a certain urgency to a public email address that

thousands of queries go to from around Russia, and the Kremlin says indeed from around the world, Hala.

GORANI: Interesting. Thanks very much. Fred Pleitgen is in Moscow.

Now, Thursday will mark 20 years since the death of Princess Diana, which was met with shock and grief around the world at the time.

Ahead of that anniversary, her two sons are taking time to reflect on their mother's legacy. Princes William and Harry visited a new garden dedicated

to her today. They met representatives from several of the organizations that Diana supported in the final years of her life.

And here is a programming note. There is a new CNN documentary, Diana Chasing a Fairytale. It's coming up on Thursday. You have two chances to

see it. The first starting at 1 pm London time and again at 7 pm in London. So, the second half of that documentary will be in our hour

tomorrow. So, we won't be with you.

Britain's Brexit negotiations with the European Union have been filled with uncertainty to say the least, but the country's Foreign Secretary Boris

Johnson is feeling pretty positive about it all.

He spoke to Nic Robertson in Nigeria.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: I think we're going to get a great deal and I don't think I need at this stage interpolate myself any

further in the negotiations. David Davis and his team are doing a splendid job.


JOHNSON: It is. Indeed, we are.


GORANI: There you have it. Some positivity. OK, I'm going to warn you. I'm going to do something completely different.

And some incredible pictures showing a battle of life and death in South Africa. We just wanted to show you some of these unusual images. A

crocodile grabs a wildebeest at the river's edge in Kruger National Park. The tug of war lasts eight minutes.

Death seems certain, but no. Two unlikely heroes emerged from the water. A pair of hippos charge at the crocodile and the wildebeest escapes,

injured, but still alive. Two tourists recorded the extraordinary footage last Friday. Never give up wildebeests.

Don't forget, you can get all the latest news, interviews and analysis on We will be right back with more from Texas.


[15:56:31] GORANI: I want to update you on the situation in Texas before we go. Thirty-two thousand people are now being housed in shelters and

those people may not have homes to return to once the waters in Houston recede.

Port Arthur for instance is the latest hit hard area. Some houses near reservoirs could be swamped for weeks and the rising waters even deluged

some shelters forcing people to find another place to stay.

But take a look at this. On Tuesday, in Houston, a group of people on Interstate 10 formed a human chain to rescue an elderly man. His car was

being swept away by floodwaters. One of the rescuers says the man was taken to a hospital and he was reunited with his son. And they got him out

of the car.

All right. Sadly, I'm hearing the death toll has risen to 28. We'll have a lot more on Hurricane Harvey after the break. I'm Hala Gorani. "The

Lead" with Jake Tapper is up next.